Dr Julio Villa-García

Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics and Syntax

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BA-MA Oviedo '05; Dip. Kent '05; MA Essex '07; MA Connecticut '10; PhD Connecticut '12

Dr Julio Villa-García [xúli̯o βíʝa ɣaɾθía] was born in Avilés, in the Principality of Asturias, Spain, in the year Spain last hosted the FIFA World Cup. In the course of his PhD at the University of Connecticut, Dr Villa-García was trained as a theoretical syntactician and as a language acquisitionist, working within the framework of Minimalism. His current interests include Spanish/Romance and English Linguistics (esp. syntax), Dialectal Microvariation in Syntax, Bilingualism, and First and Second Language Acquisition, including the application of theoretical linguistics research to the foreign-/second-language classroom. After pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English Studies and Linguistics at Oviedo (Spain), Kent, Essex (UK), and Connecticut (USA), Dr Villa-García became a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics at Villanova University, in Philadelphia, PA, USA. He was then appointed permanent Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics and Syntax in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Manchester in September 2015, was promoted to Lecturer B in 2016, and was confirmed in post in 2017. Dr Villa-García's full updated CV can be accessed and downloaded in .pdf format here.

On the research side, Dr Villa-García's focus is Spanish/Romance syntax and, to a lesser extent, monolingual and bilingual first language acquisition. His research is concerned with issues pertaining to:

- the syntax-phonology interface;

- the structural geometry of the leftmost portion of (Spanish) clauses (i.e., the CP/left periphery);

- complementiser systems (i.e., that-like elements);

- subjecthood (from any standpoint);

- locality of movement (i.e., constraints on long-distance dependencies);

- left-dislocations, questions, and exclamatives (and their implications for word order possibilities);

- negative imperatives (i.e., commands);

- clitics (i.e., weak pronouns), including the phenomenon of clitic climbing;

- ellipsis; and

- polarity (i.e., yes/no) and emphasis. 

Dr Villa-García has presented widely on a host of topics in syntax and its acquisition, alongside engagement and knowledge-transfer topics such as multilingualism as well as the benefits of applying the scientific method to the teaching/learning of foreign languages. His 2019 TEDx talk on Why Bilingualism is So Natural can be viewed on YouTube (and has actually been published on the TED.com website). The video of a 2018 talk also on bilingualism delivered in Spanish at the Instituto Cervantes can be found here, and a 2019 interview for the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE) on the Spanish language around the world can be listened to here.

Dr Villa-García convenes units in the BA in Linguistics and the BA in English Language (also offered as enhanced MA units):

- Minimalist Syntax (final year).

[- First and Second Language Acquisition (final year); until 2018].

He also teaches in the MA in Linguistics:

- Introduction to Grammatical Theory.

And he also coordinates a module in the BA in Spanish:

- Spanish Linguistics (second year).

From September 2019, Dr Villa-García's main administrative role in the Department of Linguistics and English Language is that of Postgraduate Research (PGR) Director.

Dr Villa-García welcomes BA, MA and PhD students working mainly on the theoretical (Minimalism) and descriptive syntax of English, Spanish and Romance, but also on topics related to the acquisition of syntax.

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